Monday, June 15, 2009

My thoughts on Brave New World

I found Brave New World to be a very difficult book to read, not in terms of complexity of the vocabulary or sentence structure, but rather in the way it affected me. I was so disturbed in places that I had to put the book down and pick it up the next day.

It wasn't only the overt sexual behavior among children that was described in detail that bothered me, though that was certainly a major factor. It was also disturbing to read about a society that is based on consumption, pleasure, and entertainment and realize that our own society is headed in that direction already - and fast!

I kept having to stop and remember that this book was written in the 1930s! How on earth did Huxley think of these things? Like the babies in the jars... and the different castes were constructed by the addition or withholding of different substances at different phases of the development of the fetus. Was this information well-known back then? And the conditioning through subliminal messages in their sleep? Just creepy!!

If this book was to serve as a warning, we have not heeded it. Our society is based in consumption. Our leaders are taking more and more control over the private parts of our lives (and we are handing it over without a fight!). I could go on and on, but that might take this blog into the realm of politics!! LOL

I found this book on various reading lists for high school literature classes, some as young as 9th grade. I would not feel comfortable with a 14 year old reading this book. Perhaps a 17-18 year old senior, but certainly not much younger than that.

5 comments:

Lisa said...

So, not for David yet, eh?

Niffercoo said...

In my opinion? Not a chance.

Juju said...

I have this on my reading list and you review has convinced me I need to read it sooner rather than later.

Kate said...

I read this book when I was fifteen years old and I was able to handle it just fine. I think it's really easy for adults to assume that one literary work or another is too hard/complex/mature/whatever, but I think we really need to give teens the benefit of the doubt. And there are *a lot* more graphic and disturbing literature out there than Brave New World that are in the Young Adult section.

seducedbytwilight said...

I have not read this one in years, but I agree with your points that the warnings it contains about being a society based only on consumption have not been heeded. I wonder what you make of all the consumption the Twilight books have wrought -- not only are the characters consumers (buying cars, clothes and islands!), but the franchise surrounding this books is pumping out products like crazy...
Also, I am wondering if you find the sex in Breaking Dawn (that results a black and blue Bella) as similarly off-putting as that depicted in BNW...